When she was 29 years old, Isabel read a book by Paolo Coelho called ‘The Pilgrimage’. She was very interested, but at that time her professional life was beginning and she also had her son, whom she raised alone, so it was not the moment to think about doing the Camino.
Later, her son studied at a Jesuit school, and in the religion class they were shown the movie ‘The Way’. He asked for her help in writing about it. She watched the film with her mother, whom she was taking care of at that moment, and when she saw it she remembered her reading and her dream of the past and her desire to have that experience. This time she did not forget it, instead she began to read books about the Camino and to watch different documentaries.
Her mother was very ill and Isabel -who is a doctor- was taking care of her, so she could not consider going on the Camino at that moment. During that time she contacted the branch of American Pilgrims in Miami and began to take part its activities: walks, talks and orientations for the Camino. But time passed and, although she continued to participate in the activities to prepare herself for the way, her Way continued to be delayed: one, two, three years … It was impossible because of her mother’s illness.
At that time she met a cousin who lived in Panama and had just done the Camino. Her cousin told her about the experience. Her mother, upon hearing about it, told Isabel that she could also do the Camino but asked her to wait until after her death. Another day, Linda, her friend and co-worker were at her home 20 years ago, when her mother asked her: why don’t you make the journey with my daughter? And her friend began to be interested.
Finally, after three years of taking care of her, Isabel’s mother died and Isabel felt that she could finally do the Camino. Her mother did not want to be alone and had asked her to stay with her all that time, but in the end it was she who had told her to do it.
And then she went on the Camino and what she found there was peace and being able to accept that life is the way it is, that everything is the way it is.
During her Camino she injured her knee, but she did not stop walking, but continued on. She accepted what had happened and continued as far as her body allowed. She thought about this on that occasion and throughout her Camino: everything is as it should be and we must accept life as it is.
She thought she would feel sad on the Camino but, on the contrary, it was a very beautiful experience. She met people from all over the world and from all religions, she remembers a Jewish woman, a young Muslim … and many non-believers who, nevertheless, claimed to have lived a spiritual experience. She believes that everyone comes to the Camino for a reason and ends up finding another cause or reason for doing so.
She has just finished that first experience and knows that she wants to do the Camino more times. Despite having had problems, she is not afraid of the physical aspects, because she remembers how-especially during the last days-she felt as if there was a magnet in the cathedral that called her and pulled her towards it. She would also like to volunteer on the Camino, to do some kind of volunteer work.
Now, once in Santiago, she frequently weeps, but they are tears of joy.